File No. 763.72/2080

The Ambassador in Germany ( Gerard ) to the Secretary of State


2803. I learn on fair authority that Chancellor prevailed in dispute with Von Tirpitz. Probably some proposition will be made to us about not torpedoing regular passenger liners. I do not believe Germany will abandon submarine warfare as heretofore carried on against freight ships. Our naval attaché, who is in touch with naval authorities and others, believes that German Government will attempt to get by present crisis by some skilful use of words expressing regret and offering reparation for sinking of Arabic but that no satisfactory guarantees will be given for the future and that commander of submarine will not be disgraced. He believes that German program is to take Calais and then open Straits of Dover to passage of German submarines which will make submarine blockade effective, in order to crush England eventually by this means, and that they will therefore not bind themselves in such a manner as to render this program impossible. He believes it possible that submarine commander did not actually intend to sink a passenger [ship] but took the Arabic for a transport as she was so far south of Ireland [Page 530] but that he was aware that he would be supported by the naval authorities in case he made a mistake of this kind.